100 Days of Food Freedom

Intro and Assessment

 
 

Thanks so much for joining me as I follow through the 100 days I’ve written in my book, 100 Days of Food Freedom. You being here means you already have the book and are already in the exclusive group. I’m super excited to have you here, and whether you’re reading this in real time (aka following along day-by-day) or reading these as they are archived, I just want to briefly explain why I’m doing this and what you can expect.

I’m doing these 100 days amidst some messages and feedback I’ve received about how they are laid out, about what is and isn’t difficult about it, what has/hasn’t worked well, etc. I always want to learn and grow, and I think there’s no better way to ensure these 100 days are the most effective ED recovery tool possible than to go through them myself and let you watch how I fare!

So, each day I will be updating how the day went, combined with my journal entry for that day (though I may go in twice to update the task/written exercise and then later to update the journal entry, so if you’re following in real time, take note of that). I’m still unsure of which multimedia formats I’ll use, but there will probably be some video and/or audio at some point. Of course, I always welcome feedback, so let me know what does and doesn’t work as we move forward.

With all of that said, here are my responses to the assessment from Week 1’s introduction. I am going to be leaving myself pretty vulnerable for the next few months, and answering this assessment for you all is definitely part of that, but I think this is going to be a huge step forward for 100DOFF.

(Final thing I want to mention, and the responses will be right below this: If you know of anyone who could afford to use this book and possibly even go on this journey with us, recommend it to them and then let me know their email address so I can invite them to the group. Thanks!)

Initial Assessment

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how difficult has it been to manage your ED recently? (0 = extremely easy, 10 = impossible)

    3

  2. If you have been using any coping skills recently, on a scale of 1-10, how effective have they been? (0 = highly effective, 10 = have not been using any coping skills)

    3.5

  3. Rate your ability to enjoy things on a scale of 1-10. (0 = no problem at all, 10 = extremely difficult)

    3

  4. Looking back at the past 20 days, on how many of these days have you had a significant amount of disordered thoughts? (Divide this number by 2.)

    5 (divided by 2 = 2.5)

  5. Looking back at the past 20 days, on how many of these days have you engaged in ED behaviors? (Keep this number as is; don’t divide it.)

    0

Okay, so now the idea is to add these numbers up and divide them by 5. That gives us:

2.4

Once you get your own number, remember not to overthink its meaning. I’ve purposefully omitted any explanation of this number, as it will show up again later on, so just see it as it is and think nothing more of it.

 
 

Day 1

 
 

Here are my responses to the 8 prompts for Day 1:

Questions

  1. Who are you? What defines you?

    I am an eating disorder recovery activist/enthusiast/guide. I’m defined by my trustworthiness, passion, thoughtfulness, and compassion. I almost never lie, on principle; all my life, I’ve let my passions make my decisions for me, rather than any “expected track” I was supposed to be on; I am profoundly introverted, which leads to a ton of thought put into things (oftentimes too much thought); and I have a lot of compassion for those who are struggling. I easily empathize with others (which sounds like a wholly positive trait, but also means I sometimes have difficulties making objective decisions without letting feelings get involved), and I wholeheartedly believe compassion for others is the most important thing we have in this life. Really, it’s the only thing we have in this life.

  2. What are you passionate about? What issues, topics, and concepts excite you most?

    Eating disorder recovery, body-positivity, and spreading the message of intuitive eating. I care a lot about issues concerning health and nutrition. I am also pretty passionate (albeit in a more casual way) about philosophy, epistemology, and ontology.

  3. What are your top three strengths? You may not skip this question or half-ass it.  Sit down and seriously reflect on these.  You can come up with three, trust me. 

    My top 3 strengths are: trustworthiness, passion, and compassion (I know this is directly taken from my answer to #1, but it’s the truth).

  4. What’s the kind of person you want to be? And then, as a follow-up: Why are you not that kind of person now?

    The kind of person I want to be is one who has his life together, does not constantly get caught up in his emotions, and can practice absurd amounts of self-compassion. Why am I not that kind of person now? Well, I’d hazard to guess none of us truly have our lives together. The people who say they do are lying, and the people who say they don’t are correct but (and this includes me) are also probably being too hard on themselves.

    When it comes to getting “caught up in my emotions,” the major blockade here is just that I work in a field where this is pretty inescapable. I’m constantly hearing from others about their binge/purge/restrict/self-harm urges, and it is difficult not to let this seep into my “emotional labor” load. That’s not to say I don’t want to help these people… in fact, it’s helping people going through these things that gives my life meaning in the first place! But it is to say I need to start prioritizing the kind of emotion regulation I preach to others.

  5. What would be bad about continuing with your ED? (i.e. if you did not change your disordered eating habits, what would be bad about this?)

    To be fair, I am recovered from my eating disorder. I think I need to preface that here, so that we are all in understanding of the fact that I wrote this book well after recovery. This isn’t just something I “hope” will work.

    With that said, what would be bad about continuing with my [for the purposes of this journey, let’s call it] eating disorder?

    I would continue to see my body as the ultimate decider of my own value. I would continue to let calories and other orthorexic markers define how well my day went. I would continue to alienate friends and family and fixate on things that are super unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

  6. What would be good about changing your disordered eating habits?

    What would be good about changing disordered eating habits? I would get to live a life of Food Freedom, meaning not letting my day be decided by how much “junk food” I ate or whether I did “enough” exercise, but rather by the personal connections I made, the laughs I shared with others, and the subjective feeling of peace I felt. That is SO worth it.

  7. What would be good about continuing with your ED?

    What would be good about continuing with this? It would allow for a quick “out” when I’m feeling depressed or overwhelmed (binge-eating is easy to initiate and very quickly floods my brain with a supraphysiological dopamine response that should shut those depressive thoughts up for a bit). It would also let me hold onto this easy-to-draw-upon facade identity. In other words, rather than having to see myself as a complex and holistic individual who doesn’t fit just one mold, I could keep seeing myself only as a “binge-eater.”

  8. What would be bad about changing your disordered eating habits?

    What would be bad about changing these habits would include: losing an easily accessible coping skill, always living in fear that I’ll slip out of recovery and relapse (hint: don’t worry, this doesn’t happen once you’re deep into recovery), and potentially having my support system think I’m doing just fine now and don’t need their help anymore, when in reality I often do.

After self-authoring, the next mission is to set aside a time each morning to read the day’s task.  (Did it!)

 
 

Day 2

 
 

Personal Milestone goal:

By the end of these 100 days, I would like to bring a pint of ice cream home while others are still in the house and eat it while they are there.

This goal might sound strange, but it’s extremely personally relevant. One “residual binge habit” that I’ve noticed has lingered since recovering is that of “food hiding.” Though I’m no longer in a place where I take any precautions possible to hide and lie about foods (nor do I hoard them or binge-eat them), I do still have second thoughts about bringing home “fun foods.” For the time being, I still live with family, and a lot of them have a lot of less-than-positive things to say about these foods (and implications to make about my self-discipline), despite having discussed this with them.

On nights where I really want some ice cream or cookies or something, I still have the habit of making sure no one is home by the time I come back with them. I’ve reasoned to myself that this is just a function of “wanting some alone time,” but if I’m being honest, there’s more to it than that.

So, I reckon being able to bring this food home and eat it while others are there, in the same room, would be a pretty concrete sign that I’ve achieved an even greater state of Food Freedom!

 
 

Day 3

 
 

Today is the first day of the daily journaling habit. I have set a specific time each day to write a journal entry (5pm), but this is likely to change, as I am currently in-between jobs and my schedule could do something wonky for all I know.

First Journal Entry:

To be totally honest, it’s pretty odd writing a public journal entry. I like to keep my private thoughts private, especially since I have an obligation as the author of this book and owner of this site to present the positives of recovery and help guide others to this place. It throws a wrench in things for me to drop that role and start talking too much about myself.

With that said, things have not been going too well, and as much as I want to cap that with a “but it’s okay since I’m recovered and I know how to manage my depression,” I’m going to just be real here. My depression tends to manifest as periods of no motivation at all and then periods of ridiculous amounts of energy, creativity, and joy towards life. The winter tends to be especially bad in terms of pushing me to the former.

I’d been in a slump for a while, slowly losing the motivation to keep regularly posting blogs and responding to clients, but due to some extraneous circumstances, that recently picked up. I stopped working at my job as a nutrition coach, which I figured was the best decision I could make for myself, but events also transpired to make it so I had to leave my other job (at the treatment center) as well. If you’re good at math, you’ll have realized 2-2=0, meaning I am currently out of a job.

And what better time to be out of a job than when you’re already struggling to garner the daily motivation to do basic tasks (i.e. taxes, getting my car fixed and inspected, going to doctors’ appointments)? I’ve still been able to hang out with friends, and at least being out of work allows for more time for that, so I’m seeing some friends I haven’t seen in a while and whatnot. But other than that, my motivation to get things done is pretty low right now.

One of my greatest fears is being suffocated by this thing I love. I started 100DOFF as a supplementary resource to advertise the book, but - as you know - it has taken on a life of its own and become something else. This website gets a decent amount of unique visitors each month, my email subscriber list is almost over 2000, my IG page has over 1000 followers, and I’ve been getting daily messages and questions from people regarding their own recovery paths. This is all an honor and something I’m so happy to be in the position to help with, but when I can’t take care of myself first, all the help and advice I give, all the ostensibly “good” work I’m doing becomes tainted.

This journal entry isn’t my subtle way of saying I’m quitting 100DOFF, not in the slightest. I’m so happy and proud of what this has become, and I still do plan on growing it further. But I’d be lying if I said I’ve recently felt less than adequate in my handling of this page. I didn’t finish the ED research review series I started and planned on finishing by the end of ED Awareness Week (even though the ARFID review is literally halfway done, and it wouldn’t take much work or time at all to finish it); I’ve been slacking on blog-posting; I haven’t sent out an email to the email list in weeks; I don’t get back to people who send me messages right away; etc.

I know that objectively speaking it probably doesn’t look like I’ve given up, but it does look that way to me, and that mortifies me. I’ll cut the rambling off here, but I hope everyone reading this takes all of this the right way. To everyone following along: I’m so grateful to have you and so excited for your recovery. I do also need to help myself sometimes, too. Severe depression isn’t just an annoying little mood swing that gets in your way occasionally; it’s a life sentence, and it’s something that requires constant attention and care. It’s painful to admit I sometimes have to slow things down and focus on the basics, but it’s important.

Thanks for reading, and I hope everyone following along enjoys doing their first journal entry tonight as well!

 
 

Day 4

 
 

Today’s task was to list my 10 Fear Foods out. I included this section in the book because I know Fear Foods are a huge component of a lot of people’s ED experiences. However, like others in the group have mentioned, it was never really a part of mine. With that said, it stills bears some relevance here, as “trigger foods” can easily take the place of this. I want to again emphasize that I have recovered from my eating disorder, so the foods you’ll see below are not legitimate trigger foods anymore, in the sense that they don’t lead to binges. However, I do still have some minor intrusive thoughts from time to time, and especially when things are already rough in other areas of my life, some of these foods can bring back less than pleasant memories.

Okay, one more thing I want to say before listing them out here:

TW: If you don’t want to see the trigger foods I’ve selected, skip down to the journal entry. Being in the position I’m in, I understand the risk of people seeing these foods and thinking, “Wait, should I be worried about that food, too?” Please, please take all of this with a grain of salt and remember - if you choose to read on - that we’re all on our own journeys. And remember that fear foods and trigger foods can be fear/trigger foods for reasons that are not purely grounded in nutrition science (in fact, they rarely are).

So, first:

Yellow Light Trigger Foods:

  • Garlic crust pizza

  • Oreos

  • M&Ms

  • Cake

  • Milkshakes

Red Light Trigger Foods (these are the ones that, back in my ED, their presence alone would almost definitely trigger a binge):

  • Reese’s PB Cups

  • Ice Cream

  • Donuts/Pastries

  • Deep fried cookies/Oreos

  • Nutella/cookie butter

Again, none of those are foods that trigger binges for me now, since I no longer binge. But they do bring up some familiar neuro-behavioral patterns, and I do still sometimes have to use coping skills to stop something from turning into a binge.

And now…

2nd journal entry:

Alright, so I have to say, it warms my heart to see others in the group joining along and participating. I am seriously beyond honored to be a part of your recovery, and I’m so happy that all of you are here right now, because I can tell you with 100% confidence that this is exactly where you need to be… with a supportive group of people helping you through a tough time.

My day was pretty boring, which is not something I would’ve ever thought I’d be saying just a month ago. It’s crazy how aware you become of your down time when 32 hours of formerly dedicated weekly time frees up out of nowhere. Nonetheless, I did work on my ARFID review (though, being less than 100% like I am now, it will be tough to reconcile publishing it when I do, since I know it won’t be everything it could be), and I did apply for a good handful of jobs.

I also got a call today from a regional recruiter from a health club I applied to work as the manager of. He said my resume was impressive and wants to have me come in. So, I’m set to come in tomorrow at noon for my interview. On one hand, I’m pretty excited, as this is obviously a bigger position than just working as a tech somewhere, but on the other hand, I’d be lying if I said the toxic culture of gyms isn’t a huge turnoff to me. The gym I used to work at was way better than any other I’ve been to, in terms of not allowing too much toxic language and constantly empowering their members, so I don’t know how I’d handle moving to a standard health club environment. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. For now, I’m just happy I’m starting to get responses from employers (a couple other employers hit me up today as well, asking for references and other things).

I’ve just felt blah and tired. Again, going from 32 hours of work (along with 8 hours of commute) each week to 0 without any warning definitely hits you pretty hard. I am now able to make the gym a priority again and no longer find it difficult to ensure I’m getting full meals each day, two things that a busy schedule will inevitably eat into (no pun intended). If you’re reading that gym comment and wondering whether that sounds disordered, I encourage you to check out my blog post from a while back, called Why Strength Training Can Save You From Your Eating Disorder.

That’s about it for now. I’ve got a lot on my mind, but not all of it is stuff I want to broadcast out publicly. Even still, getting to journal even some of what I’m feeling is already proving itself tremendously useful.

I hope everyone following along was able to figure out their Fear (or Trigger) Foods and able to get in a journal entry tonight. If so, nicely done, you’re off to a great start here! If not, don’t beat yourself up over it… now is the perfect time to evaluate what is getting in your way and where you could use help. And remember, one of the perks of being in this group is that you have me (and others) here as a constant resource! Never hesitate to shoot me a message or throw something in the group if you’re stuck.

 
 

Day 5

 
 

Permission to break the rules

Here is my contract:

I, Ari Snaevarsson, grant myself permission to spend the next 95 days (and beyond) enjoying food for food’s sake, treating my body with unconditional appreciation and respect, and letting my body’s natural hunger cues shine.

I promise to spend these next 95 days taking care of myself and remaining vigilant about any subtle pieces of diet culture finding their way back into my life. I promise not to fight the part of me that wants to “just try this one diet” or “maybe go for the lower calorie option this time,” but instead to thoughtfully name and notice that part while simultaneously working to foster more and more intuition and self-love.

Right now, right here, I am enough, just as I am. There is nothing wrong with me, and I deserve to treat myself that way.

3rd Journal entry:

Hopefully this won’t just become a string of negative journal entries, but I do also want to be honest and not sugar coat things. It’s worth noting, too, that up until a week and a half ago, everything was fairly smooth sailing. But losing my job sort of set off a cascade of stress and emotional exhaustion. What I’m trying to say is, had I started these 100 days 109 days ago, the journal entries might not have been so dreary. With that said…

I woke up this morning without any alarm, had a weird feeling, checked my phone and… 12:27pm. The interview was set for 12pm. Wonderful.

Really great way to start the day off. What especially sucks about it is that this would have been a really nice set-up; with the base salary he was mentioning, plus extra from negotiations, plus commission from sales… that would have been sufficient to make a liveable income and actually move out finally. But totally missing your first interview without any warning and not letting the interviewer know until 30 minutes after it was set to start, especially for a position with “manager” in the title, renders you essentially dead in the water. He told me over the phone, after I was honest about what happened, “I appreciate your forthrightness, but it’s hard to look past a first impression like that” and then wished me luck on my job search. !!!

I was incredibly angry, and sometimes with something like this, where there’s nothing I can do about it, I have a tough time managing my temper. So, to stop myself from losing it, I went on a long, directionless drive. Ended up driving out almost 2 hours south before I decided this was just a waste of gas money and that I should probably head back.

I drove straight back to the mechanic to get my windshield water pumps finally replaced, and I’m planning on going back into the same place bright and early tomorrow morning to get my state and emissions inspections done (they’re both due by the end of the month, and this windshield water pump issue was the limiting factor I was waiting on to proceed).

I went to the gym super late tonight for a much-needed training session (using exercise to take out your anger and frustration is about 638539922701x more rewarding than using it to change your body, by the way). On the way out, I asked the front desk staff whether by chance they’d have any openings for that position. The guy told me, “As a matter of fact, we do” and handed me his card, telling me to send over my resume and references. Beautiful! So maybe that’s a prospect.

That’s enough journaling for me. I hope everyone following along took something from this written exercise, and I hope you were able to write down something personally meaningful. If you’re comfortable doing so, share what you wrote in the group… it might give others some inspiration!

 
 

Day 6

 
 

A strengths adventure

So, you’ll notice a couple things here if you’re following along in real time. First, this is coming a day late. I let the day get ahead of me yesterday and didn’t plan things in advance, so I didn’t even get around to doing the task that day. It’s helpful to see how easy/difficult the 100 days are from this point of view and, depending on how things continue to go, this might very well be something I consider when adjusting things for the Workbook version. One consistent piece of feedback I’ve gotten is that there are a lot of tasks asked of the reader, and it can be hard to stay adherent, especially when you fall behind one day (as I did yesterday) and then have to make up two days. Granted, the idea of Sundays being easier than the others was primarily to give you a buffer each week for if and when little slip-ups do occur. But it’s still worth re-evaluation.

The second thing you’ll notice, by the end of this piece, is the lack of a journal entry. This is because, upon further thought, I don’t know if publicizing my journal entries is a great idea. Them being out there in the open forces me to not disclose certain things, and keeping a half-assed, “clean version” journal really defeats the entire purpose. So, I’ll continue to journal nightly, but will do so using either a physical journal or a Google Docs sheet (I’ll alternate between the two).

So, like I said, I didn’t even get around to doing the Strengths Adventure yesterday. As such, I’ve shot four people a text asking what they think my greatest strength is. Once all of them get back to me, I’ll go back into this entry and finish it. But I did still want to first just get this out there in writing so you all know I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. I’ll then also be uploading my entry for Day 7 tonight as well!

EDIT: They’ve now all gotten back. Here are the responses I got, all written out as I got them:

  • You are very dedicated to what you do

  • You do what you want and you don’t let people control your thought process

  • Passionate about helping… anorexic people

  • You have a lot of strengths and this isn’t the greatest because I’m sure others are important but… you’re a great listener and not judgmental. I know that I can tell you anything and not only will it not phase you, but you’ll really hear me out :) (this one made my day)

It seems the one common theme there is passion/dedication. This is one thing I’ve always known I’ve had a lot of. In the past, I dismissed it as being nothing more than obsession and an inability to focus on the bigger picture. But I remember one day a therapist responding to that self-deprecatory statement with “So does being obsessed with something mean you’re not passionate about it?” This was like 3 years ago but it caught me off guard and left a huge impression on me. I know now that I deserve to credit myself for that and not constantly pass judgment on myself out of fear that if I don’t others will.

I hope everyone was able to get something insightful out of Day 6. Make sure to let us know what strengths you discovered you had from those you asked. How was it hearing this? Did this at all jive with what strengths you already knew or thought you have?

 
 

Day 7

 
 

How are things going?

  1. What have you done exceptionally well in the past week?

    In the past week, I’ve done an exceptionally good job at maintaining a positive attitude in spite of what are some somewhat crappy circumstances. I’ve also done a good job at still making time for friends, though I’m unsure at this time of whether this is a positive or negative (I should be focusing on job-searching and building this site, so I need to be careful not to disproportionately prioritize my social life; my girlfriend comes first and then after that, if I have time, I’ll see friends).

  2. What strength/motivation led to this accomplishment? And how can you use this strength/motivation as you move forward? Dig deep here.

    In terms of my positivity, if I’m being honest, I think just my slowly changing seasonal moods are behind this. As it turns from the dark, cold months of fall and winter into spring and summer, my mood and energy levels almost always spike. This was a large part of the reason I was able to spend such ridiculous amounts of time working on the book last year. There’s no chance I would’ve been able to crank out a ~400-page, in-depth book like the one we have here in just around 8 months if it weren’t for my borderline-manic behavior at the time. I was also balancing two jobs, an intensive coaching course, and dating. What a time that was.

  3. What did not go so well in the past week?

    From a literal perspective, the job search was less than satisfactory. I slept in past a job interview for what could have been a big position, I was rejected to the one place I was super qualified to work at, and I just generally was not feeling very optimistic about the search. This has been pretty tough.

  4. What do you think led to this? Challenge yourself not to jump to blaming yourself and instead empathize with yourself as you would a close friend.  How can you remedy this in the future?

    I think it was the suddenness of losing my full-time job that has made this so hard. If there’s a lesson in all of this, it’s to always be ready for something like that. We take for granted that we’ll always have what we have now, but in reality any of this can vanish in a heartbeat. It’s super important to keep that in mind and always have a Plan B.

Plan out the week ahead

  1. Pull out your calendar (in whatever format you prefer) and make sure you have time to complete these tasks and habits each day.  If any days look especially busy, consider what in that day is less of a priority than this journey, and see if you can move that around or reschedule it. 

    Well, as I have no work commitments just yet, I most certainly have the time to do the tasks and habits for next week.

  2. What mental or emotional obstacle(s) can you foresee in this upcoming week? How do you plan on working through this/these?

    Depending on how the job search goes, I can foresee that being something that starts to weigh me down. Granted, I’ve already started the process up to work for Instacart and Lyft, so at least I have a plan in place to start bringing some money in again. I plan on prioritizing self-care, spending some time each day organizing things, and staying vigilant about my job search.

  3. What are you excited about in this upcoming week? (This can be related to what we’re dealing with or unrelated, if you’d like.)

    I’m excited about the tasks coming up this week. There’s a lot of “clean sweep” tasks in Week 2, and it should be interesting to see how that goes. I’m also just excited for what life brings me in this next week. I know things are a lot better than they feel right now, and - with that in mind - I’m going into this next week with an open heart and open mind.

 
 

Day 8

 
 

Support Squad

The people closest to me, who I’ll be asking to join my Support Squad are:

  • My really close friend Michelle

  • My therapist

  • My dad

  • My girlfriend

When it comes to what I’ll want from them, and this is actually why I included this section in this chapter, I personally don’t need much from people in order for them to support me. In my experience going through some periods of insanely dark and seemingly hopeless depression, the one thing that has consistently taken me out of that dark place is having someone there to lean on. For a good [fragmented] year of college, that was my girlfriend at the time. She was unbelievably supportive and understanding, and she had experience going through a pretty vicious eating disorder herself, so just having her there to talk to and confide in was huge. What’s interesting is that the idea of using a girlfriend for support used to freak me out. I used to believe this was a sign of weakness and a lack of masculinity. But, as I wrote about in What My Eating Disorder Taught Me About Masculinity, actually going through what I went through - a disease I’d previously thought was a “girls’ disease” and indicative of emotional fragility - I learned that true masculinity and what it means to be a man includes a heavy degree of vulnerability. In fact, it’s the lack of vulnerability that weakens us as men, and consequently sends us frantically searching out ways to “get more confidence FAST!” and “become an alpha male in 5 easy steps!”

That tangent aside, my point is just that I don’t need much from the people I’ll be asking for support from. I just need to know I’ll have this list of people to lean on and rely on when the going gets tough and I need an extra bit of support.

Thanks for reading yet another one of my entries. For those following along, I hope you were able to pick out your Support Squad and decide what you’ll want from them. Let us know in the group (or just let me know personally) if you’re stuck and can’t think of anyone!

 
 

Day 9

 
 

The Toxic Relationship Test

I found doing this for myself and my personal relationships to be really interesting and insightful. While I don’t want to write about who I chose, as part of my recently mentioned effort to keep this a little bit more private, I’ll still comment on the two ranges I saw come up.

I ran four people through this test. Two of them came back as an 8, and two came back as a 3 and 4. For the two who yielded an 8, this really wasn’t that surprising, as these are people I’ve known I can rely on and have a healthy, productive relationship with. For the 3 and 4, one of those I expected to rank somewhat low. But for the other (the 4), I was pretty surprised. This is someone who’s pretty close to me and I was almost sure would rank above a 7. Doing this test gave me some time to reflect what it is about this specific relationship that maybe needs fixing or a serious conversation. The 3, though, was fairly expected, and this was just a wake-up call for me to stop spending time with people who aren’t productive to spend time with.

Let us know in the group how your toxic relationship test runs went. I know this can feel oddly off-topic and intrusive (and, as always, you definitely are not obligated to post anything you aren’t comfortable sharing), but trust me when I say it all starts to make sense as you work your way through the 100 days.

 
 

Day 10

 
 

“have the talk”

You might have noticed this is a day late. I’m actually not too upset about that, though, as this all gives me a great opportunity to see the journey from my readers’ viewpoint and understand what things work and don’t work. Since the workbook is [albeit slowly] coming, this is my chance to see which things need correcting for this next version. So far, I’m thinking I could afford to reduce some of the non-eating disorder related material (i.e. paying attention to toxic relationships and whatnot) and ramp up discussion of the specific intervention strategies.

As well, it helps me see what is and isn’t reasonable to ask. In my mind, having a task to do each day for 100 days was not a big ask, especially considering it’s being done in order to free you from a really toxic disorder. However, life happens, and it’s wholly unrealistic to assume people can just go through 100 days perfectly. So, this is all to say, all of this is going to help influence changes I make for the workbook version.

Today’s two tasks were to first schedule a time to have the talk with anybody I’ve identified I might be in a toxic relationship with and then to ask the people I decided on whether they would like to join my Support Squad, as well as what role I want them to play. Since this is a day late, I am posting this before I ask and then will return to update it once I do.

As far as having the talk with “toxic” people, I’ve decided one of those people (the one who predictably scored a 3) would probably be best to just cut out of my life. It’s not that this is a dangerously toxic relationship or anything, but I can’t see it being salvageable. It’s just somebody I shouldn’t be associating with anymore, and I feel like talking to this person and trying to rectify things would just be a waste of both of our time.

With the friend who unexpectedly scored a 4, I think a talk is in order. I sent this person a text asking that the next time we hang out we talk about some of the communication issues (and otherwise) that we’ve had. I’m not too concerned about that; I’m usually pretty comfortable with civil confrontations when necessary, especially with someone like this, who I’m particularly close with. The confounder is that this friend and I used to date, which kind of makes these things a little less simple. It’s not that we have feelings for each other or anything, but we have a history, and once you’ve been with someone in that capacity, it undeniably changes the way you communicate moving forward. But, again, I’m not too concerned. I just really value our friendship and think this talk is going to be really helpful.

EDIT: She responded and actually seems extremely happy I suggested this!

I’m excited to hear from you all how your day went and whether you were able to schedule the time to talk. Really loving seeing all the new members we’re getting, and I’m just overjoyed to be able to share this experience with you all. Now being almost 2 years completely symptom-free, nothing excites me more than getting to pass on the gift of recovery to everyone else.

 
 

Days 11-14

 
 

Day 11

A recovery-Positive Living Space

I truthfully have very little left in my place (at least, the space that’s mine) that could be an issue here. I have a couple books left on fasting and obesity, but I would be kidding myself if I said I need to remove these. As I’ve mentioned, I have recovered fully already, and I do have a weight-neutral interest in body physiology and nutrition science in general. I see The Complete Guide to Fasting not as a way I can lose weight but as a quick reference guide to some of the (albeit overly simplistic) analogies about glycogen disposal and whatnot. Anything that could be an issue for me is absent from my living space and not welcome anytime soon :)

Day 12

A recovery-positive kitchen space

This is difficult considering I live with literally six other people (all family) for the time being. What’s interesting is that when I wrote that little caveat (“…you’ll have to have the talk with those you live with”), I was still living with six other people. This segment is something I’m going to change in the workbook. While I can definitely see instances where having loads of “diet foods” and other triggers could be an impediment to one’s recovery, I also don’t think everyone needs to discuss this with everyone you live with and make your kitchen space “perfect.” This might sound like a copout answer just so I can skip the task, but in truth it’s an objective observation, and I definitely don’t want things to feel overwhelming by only Week 2, lest anyone lose the motivation to keep with it for the rest of the journey.

Day 13

A Trigger Hunt Adventure

This task was interesting. What I found primarily were documents saved in Drive from a while back and saved forum logs from my bodybuilding days. These were all fairly simple to remove, but coming across them was definitely interesting. With that said, these aren’t anything I would have run into anyway (or anything that would have triggered me, where I am currently).

Day 14

HOW ARE THINGS GOING?

  1. What have you done exceptionally well in the past week?

    In the past week, I’ve done an exceptionally good job at “grinding for mine.” I know there’s been a lot of mopey talk in here about being out of a job, but it really has not been easy. I’m not used to my bank account dipping as low as it has, and it’s taken an incredible mental toll on me. It’s that in concert with still coming to terms with losing my job. I cared really deeply about that job and it gave so much purpose to my life. It sounds corny but it truly did not feel like work. I got to impart mental health lessons I’ve learned on others who need it desperately, I got to meet some of the most amazing women I’ve ever met and got to see them fight through their EDs, and I got to move up in the ranks and feel proud of it. To lose all of that with no warning is soul-crushing.

    Driving around with my Instacart lanyard and grocery shopping 6 hours a day is admittedly embarrassing and not where I want to be. And it would be all too easy to throw in the towel here and just fall into another depressive slump. But this is what recovery is all about: I realize things suck right now, but I reject the notion that my story ends here. I know what I’m capable of and I’m completely confident I will be successful in my field, no matter what that takes. So if right now that means doing these side gigs to rake in some extra cash (and I’ve got to say, the pay here is not too shabby at all), so be it. That’s all to say, I’ve done a good job this week of not giving in but instead giving my all.

  2. What strength/motivation led to this accomplishment? And how can you use this strength/motivation as you move forward? Dig deep here.

    I guess I got a little carried away with that last answer and inadvertently answered this one already. With that said, I want to also add this: The amount of confidence I’ve cultivated through my recovery and some other changes in my life is so much more than I ever would have thought back in the depths of my binge-eating. Without this, there’s no way I would have had the jobs I did coming straight out of college. There’s no way I would have published a book on my own or been featured on some major podcasts. It was in learning to trust my body and be vulnerable with those I needed support from that I grew the most. That’s not something that’s ever lost on me.

  3. What did not go so well in the past week?

    The money situation was definitely the low point of the week, though now that I’m doing Instacart, it’s not really a problem. Other than that, I’ve just had some pretty intense mood changes. This happens around the two big seasonal shifts each year, so it’s not unexpected. It’s just something to manage. Last time this happened, I launched full force into my mission to write a book on eating disorder recovery. This time, I hope to use that energy to crank out this workbook edition and work on a whole bunch of other projects I’ve had in mind (literally over 20 major projects I’ve planned out) to grow 100DOFF, maximize outreach, and give everyone the most amount of usable content possible.

  4. What do you think led to this? Challenge yourself not to jump to blaming yourself and instead empathize with yourself as you would a close friend.  How can you remedy this in the future?

    What led to my mood changes, as stated, was the seasonal shifts. I actually don’t think the answer here is to remedy things but to instead rely on those 3 keys to recovery I highlighted a while back: having an accountability system, setting large abstract goals but small immediate goals, and believing in myself (not from a “motivational fluff” sense but a “literally do things that prove to yourself that you’re capable” sense).

PLAN OUT THE WEEK AHEAD

  1. Pull out your calendar (in whatever format you prefer) and make sure you have time to complete these tasks and habits each day.  If any days look especially busy, consider what in that day is less of a priority than this journey, and see if you can move that around or reschedule it. 

    Coast is clear so far!

  2. What mental or emotional obstacle(s) can you foresee in this upcoming week? How do you plan on working through this/these?

    I plan on still working through some of the emotional changes this week, but I’m not too concerned. I’ve grown a lot and am much better able to manage these and not let them guide me to anything dangerous or inappropriate (issues I had when I was younger). I plan on making time for friends, spending time on this site and outreach through Quora (something new I’ve been doing and really loving), and grinding at that Instacart life!

    Apologies in advance for the plug (if you’re not interested, just skip right on to #3), but…

    If hearing about Instacart got some motivational juices flowing in you and you want to try (I actually highly recommend it), you’d be doing me a huge favor if you could enter the referral code ASNAEVARSSON401BB when signing up (which you can do by clicking here!). Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming…

  3. What are you excited about in this upcoming week? (This can be related to what we’re dealing with or unrelated, if you’d like.)

    I’m excited about the interview opportunities I have coming up for two job prospects that both look promising (one of which I’ll almost definitely be saying “no” to, as it was my safe pick). I’m excited to get on my grind, hopefully get approved to also work for a rideshare company, and start bringing that $$ in again!

Thanks for your patience, everyone following along. I know I’ve been absent, but I’ll be doing my best to return to regular posting soon. Just know that (as you probably already know from the above writing) a lot of things in my life right now are up in the air, so there will be times where this happens. I want to prioritize my own self-care, my job and financial health, and those close to me. This site and this journey are a close fourth.

 
 

Day 15

 
 

“Starting” the meditation habit…

It’s no secret I’ve been an avid advocate of meditation for a while now (hence my guided meditation video and video on how to stick to your meditation habit). It’s something that’s been an incredibly useful tool for me in managing my own depression, and certainly it played no small role in my recovery either. Nonetheless, I’ve found that in times of stress (distress or eustress), my meditation habit falls by the wayside. This is due to a couple simple reasons:

  • I fall for the “I need something that will work immediately” trap.

  • I feel super energetic and creative in the mornings (this is where I get most of my work done), and the idea of sitting still for 3 or more minutes - even though I have empirical proof that it helps me tremendously - just isn’t appealing.

And for those reasons, “starting” the meditation habit again today was hugely important. It’s always interesting to work through that initial bout of resistance (where your mind starts coming up with all the reasons you don’t have to do this habit) and just get started. This is one major reason mini habits are so effective and why I use them throughout the book.

Anyway, the meditation session was nice and relaxing. Just stopping to breathe deeply is enough to put my mind at ease and ground me.

I hope everyone else following along was able to make use of this habit and truly enjoy it. Let us know how it went!